Jean Shepherd
Memorial Message Board

Volume 3
Remembrances, comments and thoughts about Jean Shepherd, his life and his work.
All submitted by his friends and fans.

Edited by Jim Sadur
Updated 10/23/99

Thanks to everyone who sent these outsanding tributes to Shep!

Add your memories about Shep

Volumes 1  2  3  4  5  6


My memories of Jean Shepherd are mostly second hand.

My brother and father listened faithfully and separately to him on WOR. Each
had his own portable radio with the requisite plastic earphone. In the
morning, they would emerge from their respective bedroom sanctuaries and
retell the stories over breakfast. I was mildly envious of this males-only
secret club, who all but had their own decoder ring. I was  extremely
grateful that they relayed, amid the giggles, the stories of the previous

In time, I had my own transistor and Shepherd had those wonderful PBS shows.
I made my own club. I think I am most grateful for how Shep turned a routine
childhood experience into something magical. He taught me the art of living
an ordinary life, and looking for the wonder in the everyday.

I will miss him. I will miss that bit of my childhood he takes with him. May
he rest now, knowing the legacy he has left behind.

Mary Ann Fisher

I confess to being the brother in question!  Jim Sadur

...part of me will always be under the covers with my cheap Jap transistor listening to Shep and remembering that little sigh he used to utter at the conclusion of his opening theme...Sobriety notwithstanding part of growing up will for me be saying goodbye to Shep (i'm 50) and saying goodbye toi what was my last icon.

I am a 49 year old man living in Brooklyn, NY I listened to and loved Jean
Shepherd when I was a young teenager. I got a few of my friends to become
Shep fans as well, We were too young to get into night clubs, but we all took
the subway into Manhattan, one Saturday afternoon, just to find The
Limelight, just to see the club where Shep performed live from, every
Saturday night. We walked in the bar that early Saturday afternoon, and
looked for a hiding place, where we could wait for that night's live
broadcast. We decided to eventually just go home, but I still remember that
day, and just what "Shep's club" looked like.

I always felt that Jean Shepherd was under appreciated by the world at large.
But I am very pleased that his Christmas movie has become a staple each
season, and although he was far better at radio, than books, television or
movies, I am very pleased that Shep has found his niche in the American
fabric, through the yearly showing of this movie. I love you Shep. You were
one of the "greats."

I first heard Shep around '56-'57 when he was on WOR from midnight on.
I remember the program when he announced a "mill-in" at the Wannamaker
building, which I believe had just burnt down.  I regret I never got
there.  When I went into the military in 1962 at Fort Dix, N.J., I kept
thinking that if Shep did it, so can I.  I still have the tape I made
how everything was "show-business". So right, we made an actor a
president.  Well Shep, "Excelsior, you fat head"

My father and Shep were old ham radio buddies at Hammond High School, they
both graduated from Hammond High in 1939. I grew up watching Jean Shepherds
America. Also, he wrote in his book "In God We Trust" about Miss Bryfogle.
The correct spelling is Breyfogle. This is my grandmothers maiden name and
Miss Bryfogle was really Miss Ruth Breyfogle, my great aunt.

Da region has changed but some things haven't really changed all that much. I
have had beers at Flicks Tap when I was going to Purdue Calumet. Thought you
would like to know. My 73 to everyone and god bless Shep.

Joel Miner  W9WJU

To All Shep Fans:

In one week there was lost two enduring presences from my teen years. First
there was Jim Jensen, the New York news anchor whose authoritative rendering
of local happenings was the best compliment to how the world was then pictured
by Walter Cronkite.  If that wasn't enough of a kick to the stomach, then we lost
Jean Shepherd.

When sleep was not possible during those troubling 1970s, I would invariably sneak
my transistor radio under the pillow and be eased by Shep's nonconformity. If you
felt out of the mainstream of things for good or vague reason, here was a guy who
understood and made a radio show out of that condition.  I felt the embarrassment
he felt one night relating how the Signal Corps Shep served in had to sing an inane
theme song penned by the commander's wife.  I recall his spontaneous renderings
of some melody on that instrument (was it a kazoo?) as an act of sheer rebellion in
full earshot of a cliquish planet.  And I always smiled when Jean Shepherd laughed,
a chortle that gave assurance in the face of absurdity.

Like Kurt Vonnegut, I too have found comfort in those who produce enduring humor.
Vonnegut expressed such a thought about Bob and Ray, of whom I was also a big
fan.  The same comfort was found as well in listening to Jean Shepherd.

Thanks, Shep.  Rest in peace, old pal.

Bob Ludemann
Garden City, New York

I thoroughly enjoyed Shep's work and am saddened at his passing. As so
many of us have mentioned I listened to him on WOR. I identified
especially with him because there were a number of parallels in our
lives. I was about his age, was in the Signal Corps during WWII, served
a stint at Camp Crowder, was interested in radio communication, and flew
airplaanes privately. When his tales encompassed any of these areas I
could vouch for their ring of authenticity even if they were fiction. I
never saw any of his work that I didn't enjoy. So long, Shep.

Fred Creasy

1960..............Haiku and Robert Service,the radio under the pillow and stories I never wanted to end.Changing the year of birth on my birth certificate in case I was ever "carded" at the Limelight.
Thanks Shep. Excelsior indeed. 

Carol Sirkin

I particularly remember the scary music Shepherd would play when he would
tell his style of "ghost" stories. There'd be a pause --- a "pregnant
pause!" --- in his story, usually at the moment of highest tension; I'd be
under the covers,eyes bugging out of my head, and there'd be this sudden
unearthly chorus of that music, followed by another pause, and then, this
sound, a small voice, emitting something like, " BRIINNGG! "

I'd just die from the heart attack.

I've always believed that in his Wonder Years in NYC  Garrison Keillor
listened to Jean Shepherd and thought to himself, " Someday I'll do a show
like that on the radio."

The Master is gone, but I ---we, right ,gang?--- were so priveleged to have
heard him. Flick lives indeed, eh Zudock?

Thanks Shep, and hey; bring the music up big. Play Hindustan one more time.

Chris Martens

I will miss good old Shep. but thanks to people such as Jim Sadur, Max
Schmid, and many others, he will never be fergotten. Luckily, thanks to these
fans, He has a legacy that many will appreciate. i intend to put out the
lights, lay in bed, and remember the great old days by listening to tapes of
the old WOR shows. Shep, you were always on the money, shooting down the
phonies, and giving us the real Truth! I can still hear your Laugh. Cynical,
yet aware of all human foibles, never condescending. a special thanks to Max,
i can listen to Shep's cackle forever. To Shep, wherever you may be, KEEP
YOUR KNEES LOOSE, AND KEEP A LOW PROFILE! You made this crazy world a better
place.  anyone who pines for the old Shep philosophy, visit Max Schmid's
Site. He is a true gent and real fan. Bless you Shep. YOU WERE REAL!   


As a callow youth growing up in the wilds of New Jersey, a kid tagged as
too smart, too heavy, and too nearsighted, I took great comfort in Shep's
shows from 1966 to the early 1970s when I left the metro area. Shep was
funny, inspirational, philosophical, and educational. Sometimes

One of his great gifts was I always felt as though he was talking directly
to me, that we were partners in the daily struggle against the squares, the
meatballs and the conformists.

I count myself fortunate to have had my name mentioned in one of his
"Parade of Humanity" shows (generating a typically wry comment about a
statement I'd made); to attend live performances at Princeton, Seton Hall,
and Fairleigh Dickinson (aka Fairly Ridiculous); amd to acquire two
autographed books along the way.

There are two highlights of my fandom. One was the brilliant memorial show
he did after the death of Jack Kerouac. The other was ditching high school
one fine sunny spring day to attend the notorious "press conference" at the
Overseas Press Club. Stashed somewhere in my house is a carton that holds
the article I wrote about that day of days..

Shep was a genuine American original, an artist whose contributions will
stand the test of time. What more can be said but "Excelsior!"

Patrick Curren
Eagan, Minnesota. 

I still have one of my two old jews' harps that I and my buddies played
c. 1967-1969 when, as grade schoolers staying up too late, we were
devoted every night to the man who gave us Flick, Schwartz and the rest.
 God, I wish I had some tapes.  Clear as a bell, I can hear:

The bear missed the train, the bear missed the train, the bear missed
the train and now he's walkin'

He's walkin' near and far, he's walkin' far and near, he's walkin' near

What a poet.  Gotta find some tapes.

Walt (once of Holmdel, now in Ann Arbor)

From: Brian & Tina <>

It was a cold and gray day here in NW Indiana today. Just like Shep had
described so many times. It is just a matter of a few weeks before we see even
colder weather with gray snow and dirty ice, lining the landscape of this
industrial part of Northern Indiana.Before going to Flick's we all drove a block
south and turned left on Cleveland St. Up the road a little and on the left
side we arrived at our destination "2907 Cleveland St." As we all glanced
at Shep's boyhood home I pictured the "Old Man" pulling up in the beater
Oldsmobile. The tire tracks are still there, there is no paved driveway, just
tire ruts in between the grass leading up to the house. I see the front porch and
have visions of Shep's Mom getting the morning paper in her red Chinese
chenille bathrobe. The front window is perfect for a "leg lamp." Just up the street
you can see the Warren G. Harding School and playground. It is all too real.
It is here that all these great stories were weaved. My Father see's that it really
hasn't changed much as he too lived on Cleveland Street from 1944-1965. "Some
of Shep's stories were based on fiction, most of it was true, he states." He showed us
where the Farkas clan lived as well as the Flickenger's. The more I see the more I
can relate to. Just a few doors down on Cleveland St the road comes to a circular
four corners. Is it here where Lud Kissel lit the infamous dago bomb? As we pass
the house on our way to Flick's Tavern we all salute in unison. It's as if we have
lost our fallen leader. Arriving at Flick's you know you have arrived at a hometown-
blue-collar bar. It is a dark setting, not many table's, mainly barstools
scattered around the bar. A small TV reports today's news. It is a sparse crowd, maybe 10-15
patrons (all male)By looking at these steel mill faces you can see the "Old Man - Uncle Carl
& Lud Kissel's" of the area. The drink of choice is Miller and Stroh's. I think I even spotted
a case of Hamms in the cooler. I haven't seen Hamms in years. Many are telling Shep tales, and
many shake their heads in sadness. But before the sadness takes over a Shep tale has everybody
laughing again. It seems like every 5 minutes we are raising another glass and toasting to Shep. a
drunken regular states... "that SOB may be gone physically, but god dammit he left us with allot." A fitting
tribute from what seemed to come from a Shep character. If Shep was looking down on us I know he was
laughing pretty hard today.

Brian Pearson
Highland, Indiana

Growing up in Pennsylvania in the 60's, I was too young to stay up to the end
of his 10:15 to 11PM show , so borrowed my Dad's reel to reel and recorded
many shows from the radio as WOR faded in and out and I , supposedly, went to
sleep.  Would I had saved them all instead of recording over on the same
tape!  Tonight NPR broadcast a 10 minute tribute that brought back such
memories, especially when I heard the "Bahn Frei Polka" one last time.  I
remember seeing Shepherd at Lafayette College in the late sixties and again
at the U of Delaware in the early seventies.  I, too, stayed after
performance with a bunch of other  kids to get his autograph.  He was so
eager to know that we had enjoyed hearing him and his stories.   Who will
carry on his traditions?

Hockessin, Delaware

Hommage to Jean Shepherd

For many of us who grew up in rural America in the late 1940s and early 1950s, night time was truly magical.  The mélange of obscure Irish fiddle  music, Pennsylvania polkas, livestock prices, ranting ministers, greetings for “shut-ins,” and obituaries sponsored by the local mortuary that were the staple of local broadcasting faded at sundown and out of the wondrous night sky came the sound of the 50,000-watt clear channel big city AM stations—WLS and WCFL in Chicago ;(the Voice of Labor, which had a great all-night jazz disc jockey named Sid McCoy) WBZ in Boston; KYW in Philadelphia; WSM in Nashville, home of the Grand Old Opry, and WWVA in Wheeling, the other home of live country music. 

For me, the most magical of all was WOR in New York and a late night philosopher named Jean Shepherd.  Shepherd was one of those guys who just too hip for this planet—like Dexter Gordon, Jimmy Rowles, Tommy Flanigan, Mort Sahl—guys who were cool when cool was hep and people who weren’t hep were squaresville.  Vootie dudes, you dig?  Whether the hip flowed from their horns or pianos or mouths, it was the riffs that blew the most.

One writer described it like this:  "Okay, gang are you ready to play radio? Are you ready to shuffle off the mortal coil of mediocrity? I am if you are." There is a noise like a mechanized Bronx cheer (BRRAPP!)- it is Shepherd blowing his kazoo. At other times he twangs his Jew's-harp (BRROING!). "Yes, you fatheads out there in the darkness, you losers in the Sargasso Sea of existence, take heart, because WOR, in its never ending crusade of public service, is once again proud to bring you--EROICA SYMPHONY UP)-- The Jean Shepherd Program!" 

Shepherd was a gentle subversive whose humor was based on his own childhood or his Army experiences or, most often, just plain made up.  He divided the world into “day people” and “night people” with the “day people” being a distinctly lesser breed.  In one of his most famous bits he convinced his “night people” audience to start going into bookstores to ask for a nonexistent book which he called I, Libertine and attributed to a nonexistent author named Frederick Ewing.   Pretty soon, newspaper articles are beginning to appear about the book.  Publishers are flying off to Europe to acquire the publishing rights.  Hundreds of people a day are asking for it.  A couple of newspapers put it on their bestseller lists.   Finally, the Wall Street Journal figured out that it was a hoax.  Later, Shepherd and Theodore Sturgeon actually wrote the book together under Ewing pen name.

Having invented talk radio, he got bored with it and did some PBS specials called Jean Shepherd’s America and wrote a few books--Wanda Hickey's Night of Golden Memories, A Fistful of Fig Newtons, The Ferrari In The Bedroom, In God We Trust, All Others Pay Cash--and edited a book about an Indiana humorist named George Ade, who had been a big influence.

His most popular and well known work is the film "A Christmas Story" (1983) which he co-wrote and narrated.  Shepherd is the "Ralphie" character who gets his tongue stuck on a flagpole as a result of an infamous "Triple Double Dog Dare." There are his sidekicks Flick and Schwartz, the bullies Farkus and Grover Dill, and the saga of the “old man’s” Lady's Leg Lamp. Ralphie's ultimate quest is to get a "Genuine Red Ryder Carbine Action Two Hundred Shot Lightning Loader Range Model Air Rifle" for Christmas despite all the grownup warnings that "you'll shoot your eye out."

Shepherd absolutely most famous work is one for which he never received any credit or even acknowledgement—the highly successful television series, The Wonder Years, which basically ripped off both Shepherd’s childhood and his droll style of inner commentary in talking about it without so much as a thank you. 

Shepherd died a couple of days ago—still bitter, according to friends, about The Wonder Years slight.  He probably should have worried about it less--all us “night people” knew where it came from. 

Jerry Bowles

I was a kid in Philly doing a local TV show on WCAU TV called, The
Children's Hour.  I was 16, the year was 1957.  I would run home and
listen to WOR and Jean Shepherd.  I taped a bunch but it was later
stolen. Later I worked as a disc jockey at WHAT, a jazz FM station.  It
was 1961 and I still listened.  I missed Jean Shepherd for years after I
came out to California and hearing about him dying stirred up all kinds
of feelings about myself and about my life in the late 50s and early

I've always felt that credit should have been given to Shep by the
creators of Prairie Home Companion.  Although I related to what Jean
Shepherd did much more than to what PHC is, to me, the influence has
always been abstract and obvious.  Always wondered if Shep listened to
it and if he liked it or hated it.

Oh well, Life is but a dream, Shaboom, Shaboom.

Ted Arnold

I will miss Jean deeply.He was one of the most down to earth people in
the world.

I was first introduced to Jean as a young boy in the 70's. He had a TV
show on PBS, as I recall, where he drove around America. It was great! I
often wondered how somebody so GOOD at storytelling could not be on TV
or film more often. I wish he had done 20 other movies like "A Christmas

In a world bombarded with violence and sex, Jean was a candle in the
darkness. His home-spun 'say it like it is' style was endearing.

Thanks Jean

Tony McAndrews

From 1959 on, I was also one of Shep's devout listeners,
in the dark, under the covers, with my transistor radio
pressed against my ear.  In 1960 on a class trip to New York,
another fan and I "detoured" from the group, to visit Greenwich
Village.  We stopped at the book store that Shep had been
talking about, and picked up their free red and white
"Excelsior You Fathead" buttons.  I bought my first copy
of the Village Voice that evening.  Even went to a coffee
house and had an espresso!  That pilgrimage was one of the
highlights of high school for me.

Here was someone my parents' age, who could make every-day
life so darned entertaining.  Shep had a gentleness and
a cheerful curiosity that inspired this awkward adolescent.
Loved his books, articles and of course the Christmas
movie.  I loved another of his movies on TV more, though
I can't remember the title. It was about July 4th.
I especially remember the scene with the mother and the
chain-letter with washrags.  You had to be a kid in the
50's to really appreciate that. 

Last night I opened my high school souvenir box and there
was my little "Excelsior You Fathead" button, where it's
been for 40 years.  Shep, you were a major part of my
youth, and I thank you.  Rest in peace, friend.   

Kathi from Philly

The thing that upsets me most about Sheps passing is I always wanted to
meet him, I'm 37 and spent countless hours glued with ear to speaker in
the early 70's listening to his every word on WOR. Later on UHF TV Jean
hosted a show called "Shepherd's Pie" and I nearly lost it one week when
they ran a fast motion reel of film shot the entire length of US 1 in New
Jersey. (This ran a block or two from my house).

I feel that his humor has made a significant impact on my life. While I'm
not in the entertainment field, I hold the power of making someone else
laugh or smile with very high regard. As a child I reveled in the warmth
I felt in his monologues- The inner smiles I had that traveled through my
body that made me glad to be alive.

I feel that he has made me a better person, and his passing saddens me as
he was the best friend that I ever had, that I never met.

-Mitch Gurowitz

In the early morning hours of September 10, 1984, I could not sleep and
decided to turn on my amateur radio to 80 meters. A gentlemen located in
Snowpond, Maine, returned my call and we talked for almost 30 minutes.
He told me about his movie "A Christmas Story" and urged me to see it
when it opened that Christmas. I was mesmerized! His voice and stories
made ordinary conversations extraordinary. He has given us all precious
reflections of our own childhood, which is a debt we will never be able
to adequately repay. Thank you, Jean.

Michael McDaniel
West Bloomfield, Michigan

     I,too, remember listening to Shep in bed, every night from 10:15 to
11:00 on WOR.  (Were Met games always over by then?) From Call to the
Post, through Hindustan, Sheik of Araby, Robert Service poems, The
Walrus and the Carpenter, playing the Jews Harp, stories about "me and
Schwartz and Flick and Bruner...", brother Randy, the old man, mom in
the kitchen with the red chenille bathrobe serving meatloaf with red
cabbage.... rapping his head in tune with the music, ad libbing
commercials, radio lingo that was incomprehensible but somehow exotic to
a 13 year old... finally reading In God We Trust, All Others Pay Cash
(weren't allowed to read Playboy) and wondering does anybody else get
it?  Why is this man not as famous as Mark Twain?  Discovering
The America of George Ade in the Cornell University library and
realizing Shep is legitimate, a scholar,of sorts, and not just my
private radio humorist.  He had a bitterness and a temper back then I
suppose.  I remember reading (hearing?) an interview in which he
insisted, with some annoyance, that he was NOT a writer of nostalgia,
but a satirist.  I began to define my sense of humor by relating to his,
wry, wickedly intelligent, a catch-all of popular culture
references("Why do I know all this stuff?" he would cry).  I suppose I
began to slowly understand wider worlds thanks to him.  New York radio,
not just WABC, Dan Ingram, the Good Guys, and the Beatles, but, Barry
Farber, Long John Nebel, Barry Gray, Leon Lewis, Bob and Ray, and, yes,
even "Stan Lomax with the Day's Doings in the World of Sports."
I met one of my closest friends in late grade school when I saw he had
"Flick Lives" on his ruler. "You listen to Shepherd too?"  Yes it was
something of a cult following, a radio brotherhood. But it also was
something my parents appreciated and approved of, and my thoughts of
Shep are now tangled together with all kinds of thoughts of growing up
on Long Island in the sixties, my parents, Catholic school and the Mets.
I got to meet Shep at college when he was on tour, and was not
disappointed.  I carried a banner thet said "Flick Lives" at a Shea
Stadium Banner Day in 1970, and taped the show when he talked about it
on the air. I went to see A Christmas Story when it first came out, and
enjoyed it, and always felt a secret pride in having discovered this
stuff before most of the newly appreciative public.

   I discovered this and other web sites last fall and spent a few too
many hours recreating that world.  It is amazing how much the actual
sound of the old theme song can bring back a flood of emotions.  I
was shocked to realize Shep was now in his late 70's, and sad to hear
that he sounded bitter about his radio days.

   I suppose many of us carry around a secret fear of finally reading
certain obituaries.  I dreaded the day when I would turn the page and
read about "Radio Storyteller Shepherd." And was shocked when I heard
about a son and daughter he never acknowleged. (Randy?!) Oh, well.
Feet of clay, indeed.  I've grown up. I can handle it, but it all hurts.
My favorite moment of all may be the Jean Shepherd's America segment
when he celebrated driving, and played White Line Fever.

 I miss you Shep, but it's ok.  Excelsior, and Flick Lives!

Tom Devine, 44, Malverne, LI, NY and West Hartford, CT

Dear Jim!

What nice tributes for Shep on you site- much the same feelings for me. 
I also head the pleasure of seeing Shep live at the Limelight about a half
dozen times while groing up in Brookly, NY. He came and sat at our table one
night- (he might as well have been God to my High School pal  Dennis Virzi
and I!)  He singned my hardback of "In God We Trust" and made us laugh.   I
don't know if you've ever heard a story that Richard Belzer (comic/actor)
tells about Shep.  Heard it one night on the old Larry King program on Radio.

 It goes like this.

Belzer was driving through the countryside outside Philadelphia going home. 
He was listening to Shep talk about the power of radio.Shep asked that, on
his countdown, people would flick the lights in their living rooms to see how
many people were out there listening.  Shep counts down to #1 and Belzer says
as he looked off to the homes in the countryside- it was dotted with
flickering lights all over the place.  He at that moment understood the power
of media and the spoken word.

This is the story as best I can remember. He told it lovingly-an obvious
acolyte.  For me this story, and the messages on the Memorial Site, tell me
that, as personal as Shep's stories felt,  he meant as much to so many others
as well.

Now that I am older (50 this week) I keep telling my kids the stories as best
as I can remember them- and as they get older, encourage them to read them.

 Shep will always have a very large place in my heart.

    "Such a long time to be gone,
     And a short time to be there"
            Robert Hunter
            'Box of Rain'


David Michelsohn

Like many others, I used to listen under the covers in the late '50's
when I accidently discovered Shep while living in Connecticut
(WOR had a long reach).  Then, after Shep's warmup, I would
attempt to go as far as I could with Long John's all night show - a
great way to prepare for school the next day.  Talk about sleep
deprivation.  Years later, I became a Ham operator and still later,
spent a year working as an engineer in a dinky foreign language
radio station and crossed a picket line to work as an engineer in a
Providence RI TV station.  Several insane things happened there
that I think Shep would have appreciated - If I could have told them
to him, I'm sure he could have wrought them into a couple of his
classic tales.  I guess I'll have to do it myself some day, but there's
no way I could do justice to the master...

My wife (also a Jean Shepard fan from her teenage years) and I
have been married 22 years.  Our first date was a Jean Shepard
concert in Princeton, and we went to several more over the years.  I
wish I hadn't missed any of them.  My wife even had the nerve to
get herself invited into the broadcast booth in Princeton while they
interviewed Shep at that first concert we attended.  She has an
autographed first edition of his first book that she treasures.

Until we meet again, Shep, keep your knees loose.

Mark J.and Gail R. Wallin

Jean Shepherd was the best humorist of our age.  We all are very lucky
to have enjoyed his brilliance, whether in our early years listening to
the transistor under the pillow, or later, watching a cast of his
characters in the beloved "A Christmas Story".  Good-bye, Shep, it was
real good to have known ya!

Peter Peracchio

I was a kid at a catholic grade school and not fitting in, when one of
the few friends I had there ( thanks, Paul, wherever you are ) told me
about Jean Sheperd.  Yes, it was life changing; I listened to him for
years, grateful that an adult could acknowledge the stupidity of the
adult world and then have me laugh at it.  I saw him live a few times (
once forcing my family to see a performance in a theatre in the Bowery,
of all places ), but my favorite memory is when he came to my hometown
of Plainfield, NJ, to sign copies of "Wanda Hickey."  There were "Flick
Lives" banners up and down Park Avenue ( still a pretty street in those
days ) and I was shocked to realize other people knew about the guy.
It's been said before, but you thought he was only talking to you.
After standing in line for a looong time, behind three guys named Mark -
and he asked each one, "With a 'C' or a 'K'? - it was my turn.  I
approached him, opened my book and said, "Michael, with an 'M'."  He
burst out laughing and  wrote, "To Mike - be brave!" on my copy ( see,
one smartass always knows another ).  I've still got it, and those words
pop into my head at the oddest times.  I'll miss ya, Shep - thanks for
all the good times.


I am pretty sure that no other radio personality has ever had the effect on
listeners as did Shepherd.  That so many of us had similar experiences of
listening [ and chortling ] with our heads under the covers -- when we should
have been sleeping -- is a remarkable cultural legacy, when you come to think
about  it.  Yes, his live nightly ventures were bold.  But most of all, I
treasured his Limelight broadcasts not only for the unfolding stories but as
well for his way of dealing with hecklers.  It was tremendous fun to listen

    I was fortunate to have seen him do a live broadcast in 1973 at the WOR
studio on Broadway.  But for years prior to that on various occasions, I
tried to hang around the 1440 building, hoping to get a glimpse of Shep but
to no avail.  All I saw was Joe Franklin.

    One year, Shepherd offered, on the air, to send a Cinzano ash tray to
those who requested one.  I along with probably hundreds of others sent in
and actually received one of the plastic ash trays, along with some sort of
promotional letter signed by Shepherd.  At the time, I thought the ash tray
was really valuable and that Shepherd had sent me the only one ever made. 
Now I *know* that the ash tray was valuable.

    Thank you  Jean.  We will miss you.


I for one really appreciated listening to Jean on WOR  He had a genius
for storytelling that captivated  me whenever he spoke.  He  really
expressed many of the awkward feelings I had in growing up and it was a
kind of catharsis to know that someone was so in touch and capable of
expressing these thoughts.  Rest in Peace Jean and thanks for the very
many quality shows you've given.

Yonkers, New York  10/18/1999

I am terribly grieved to hear of the passing of
Jean Shepherd. I can't count the evenings when,
instead of going to sleep, I would turn on the
table radio on the night stand and listen to
Shep regale me with one of his many stories.

It was 1963 when my father introduced me to the
now-famous WOR evening broadcast. We were dri-
ving home from the Bronx - from Dad's store.
It was 9:30 or 10:00 P.M. The car radio was
tuned to WOR and Lester Smith had just finished
the news. There was that "horse racing music".
And then there was this guy telling a crazy
tale about a "2nd grade girl stripping in the
public school playground", occasionally inter-
rupting the flow of the story to interject his
own version of the "bump-bump-a-thump" of a
burlesque beat. I never heard anything like it

My Dad and I got home in 25 minutes but we
stayed in the car to hear the rest of the
story. Needless to say, I was hooked and my
evenings, throughout the 1960's, were punctu-
ated by the now famous tales of Schwartz,
Flick, Bruner, and Miss Shields.

In 1970, when I became interested in "Ham
Radio", I was pleased to find out that my
favorite story teller was also a licensed
radio operator(Shep - K2ORS). And one so
sufficiently quick on the "read" that he
was amongst the nation's fastest. (Yeah,
Jean could send and receive Continental
Morse Code at 60 wpm.)

Over the years, I have received books
as gifts and was always pleased if the
author was none other than Shep himself.
Tonight, upon hearing of his passing,
I pulled "The Ferrari in the Bedroom"
off the shelf. I always kept it sort
of special. Jean put in a brief note
and signed it for me 27 years ago.

I probably speak for many when I say
"Good-bye, old friend. Thanks for the
insights. And most of all - Thanks
for adding some humor into an other-
wise mundane childhood".

           L.G."Lou" Leonard, WA2UIJ  

     As I read the many memorial messages and "Tales of the Shep", I realize
the true legacy of the great man. Look how many of these responses are from
those who have worked in the media, radio, TV or print. I think all of us
can point to Shep as not only a literary influence but also as the one who
planted the seeds from which our individual creativity blossomed. But beyond
that professional aspect, his stories and the way he delivered them made us
more human. Because of him, we grew up with the ability to notice the small
detail within the big picture. That the threads of everyday existence make
up the fabric of life.

     As irony would have it, I spent this past Saturday with a friend from
college who I had not seen in quite some time. We talked about when Shep
came to our school in '73. We spoke of friends at that time who were also
influenced by him. As we spoke, we paused and formed just the right
adjectives, metaphors and similes, just as Shep had taught us. Shep would
have appreciated where part of this discussion took place. It was at the
Kennedy Space Center during a Category One hurricane. Shep would have taken
note of the juxtaposition of some of man's most powerful machines surrounded
by one of nature's greatest forces.

Al Elia,
Orlando, FL

I never knew Jean Shepherd personally, never was lucky enough to listen to
his radio broadcasts or see him in concert (I was busy growing up in the
Midwest).  I only knew him through his books and PBS shows.  But he was
able to paint the Midwest, not in sardonic grays, but with love.  In so
many little ways, his stories have added a flavor to my life, that until I
heard of his passing, I didn't appreciate.  I wish I could have told him
thanks myself, but this tribute will have to do.

For some reason, I picture him out on the oil slicked lake an hour before
sunrise swatting the mosquitoes at Ollie Hoffnagles Haven of Bliss.

Jeanne Mangum.

I remember hearing Shep's voice on the radio in the late 60's riding with my
Dad in his 59 Chevy wagon I was about 4 or 5 at the time. I close my eyes
now and still hear Jean's warm voice. Desperate, cynical, even in his meek
tones his voice was still so bold.  I was lucky enough to see his last 2
annual spring appearances at Princeton University in Alexander Hall about 3
years ago.  My wife and myself took my dad who was a long time fan to the
show, for my dad it was like seeing Pope.  My dad wanted to see him after
the show so he could leave him with a one last parting word, a word that
only a Shep fan, or Jean himself would understand, "Excelsior!".

Your words will live forever.
We loved ya Shep, Rest in Peace.

Rick Samuelson
Sellersville, PA

This morning driving to work and thinking about his death, I recalled Shep
making some offhand remarks about the Oakland A's, Billy North in particular.
His passion for baseball was apparent. The early to mid 70s were my years
with him. I planned my days around listening to his show, taping him when I
had someplace to go. I've got to find them and see if I have any Max Schmid
needs. Living in Texas, the shows I heard were NPR. At a friend's apartment I
was bowled over when I saw his Shep poster and learned that he had been a
teenage listener in New Jersey in the 60s. Jean Shepherd's America was a
treat, and until browsing the website tonight I had forgotten coming across
Shep on the Pan Am games in 1979. I always thought of the success of  A
Christmas Story as sort of an inside joke among his fans from way back, as we
thought to ourselves "if you only knew..." when we heard it praised,
knowing that it was only the tip of the iceberg of his genius, glad for his
mainstream breakthrough, but thinking of the "real" Shep as the Bohemian  jazz man in
the Village.

B. Johnson

Shep, bon voyage.  You leave behind an ageing army that loves and misses
their  old leader.

H V Williams

The world got a little colder and a little emptier on Saturday.
I didn't know whether to cry when I heard the news, or to
just let those warm, satisfied memories wash through me and
bask in the smile of having known the pleasure of growing up
with Jean Shepherd.

As someone else said, we are all his survivors. Shep gave me
great joy and wry smiles at a time in my life when very little
made me happy. There were days when I lived for the moment
when I could turn on that radio in the dark and just surf the waves
of sound and storytelling that rolled over me. I still get goosebumps
when I hear snippets of his theme music (the NPR memorial really
did me in), and have wistful memories of the time Shep *read my
name* during one of his March of Humanity shows. (Outdone by
the kiss I got at that book signing in Plainfield, NJ...)

I told my 12-year-old son on Saturday that Shep had gone. He
said, "Oh wow, you mean that guy who tells the great stories
that go around in a circle and always come back at the end?"
Yes indeed, the circle always closes. I loved you, Shep, and
always will. Thanks for everything.

Diane Reese, "a true GIRL!"

    I wish I had Shep's gift for conveying feelings and ideas so I could
put into words what he meant to me and all his fans.  As a transplanted
New Yorker living in Los Angeles,  it is impossible to convey to my
fellow Angelenos who Jean Shepherd was or how great a loss American
culture (or counter-culture) his passing has caused.  I echo the
feelings of all the contributors to this site in saying that his impact
on me as a kid of 12 or 13 is immeasuable and continues to this day.  I
wll never be able to eat red cabbage again without crying .  Shep may be
gone, but rest assured, FLICK LIVES!!!!

Jeffrey Q. Steinman
Los Angeles, CA

I have many pleasant memories of listening to Shep on WOR after the Late
News, via a trusty old ARB navy aircraft receiver, that Shep might well
have recalled from the great days of Electronic Surplus! Vale, K2ORS !

Fred Chesson (Member: Antique Wireless Asso.)

I was riding the T, the subway, in Boston a few years ago, maybe it was 1993, when I heard some guy say to a woman with him, "Excelsior you fat head!"  I turned and said to the guy, "Oh, yeah?  Well, seltzer bottle, Mac!"  Then we just went our separate ways.  However, that brief exchange made me realize how dear Shep was to me when I was an adolescent out-cast...he made a few of us feel like we belonged to something truly special without having to go to the trouble and expense of joining an actual cult.  I will miss him, but I will always remain connected to the web of Shep's fans from the New York area...we always knew where we would be at 10 pm.

Flick Lives!


    In reading through these memorials, I was struck by how many of us used to listen to Shep under the covers, presumably way past our collective bedtimes.  It's clear he really was 'The Old Man' to countless baby boomers who now yearn for their youth of the '60's & '70' as Shep did his of the '30's & '40's.    
    I too discovered Shep one night when jumping down the dial from WABC to WMCA.  There on WOR, in the middle of the TOP 40 wars was a voice that leapt into our lives at the most formidable point in our development.  Is it any wonder then the degree of loss we feel with his passing?  He literally was the voice of our own 'Wonder Years' (if not the TV show as he should have been). 
    Someone made the observation that Shep understood life in the 20th century better than anyone since Twain had in the 19th.  Isn't it ironic he should pass away just as the dawn of the next century is upon us?.  And doesn't that suggest in the 21st century someone will continue this legacy and embody the style, eloquence and sense of humor of Shep, thus keeping him alive in the truest sense?
    One thing is clear; Shep touched our lives to an extent that even he might find hard to imagine (and what an imagination he had).  His was a timeless quality that transcended eras - the very reason it will still be around long after you & I have joined Shep in the sky.  (No doubt they'll still be showing 'A Christmas Story' countless times then - proof positive of its status as a worthy successor to 'It's a Wonderful Life'). 
    I'm going to go watch it now and then I think I'll go find a copy of 'I, Libertine'!  To Shep fans everywhere I suggest you do the same and, 'Excelsior - you fatheads'!
Lee Chambers
Los Angeles, CA

Like so many others have expressed here, I heard of Shep's passing with great sadness today.  I've been living in Ireland for the past 8 years, and reading these memorials brings me back with great fondness to an important part of my childhood growing up in Westchester County.,

I just wanted to share one of my own Shep memories -- that important moment of being "acknowledged" by Shep on the air.

Those who listened to Shep in the late 60s might recall that one of his regular sponsors was a Chinese Restaurant called "The Great Shanghai - right beside the subway at 103rd and Broadway".  The Great Shanghai's main sales pitch was that they featured an "all you can eat" Sunday brunch from 11-3, at the bargain price of something like $2.50.

As a great fan of both Shep and Chinese food, three of my teenage pals (Parker, Frank and Erik) and I decided after years of hearing this ad, that we would venture down to the wilds of Manhattan one Sunday morning to stuff our teenage guts to capacity - and then some.

We arrived that warm summer morning just as the place was opening, and had our choice of booths.  Naturally, we sat as near to the food (or the "trough" as Shep would have called it) as possible.

Up we went - Chow Mein, Low Mein, chicken wings, friend rice, "Monkey balls" in some orangey sauce, egg rolls - you name it.  We stacked our plates high and stuffed our faces.  Four rounds later, it was only 11:20 AM.  How would we last until 3?

We took a little break, drank a glass of ice water, and sampled the Chinese tea. Then Parker dipped his chop stick into the little dish of hot mustard.  "Mmm..." he said.  So I tried it.

I sneezed.
Then I sneezed again.
My eyes started to water.
Then I coughed

Up came the Chow Mein, Low Mein, chicken wings, friend rice, "Monkey balls",  egg rolls - one course after the other. Right onto my plate!  I casually tried concealing it with the napkin.


More and more kept coming -My pals added their napkins into the growing mound, but there was no hiding it.  We couldn't stop laughing.  The other Sunday brunchers put down their chopsticks and stared.

We all went into the restroom.  But by then the worst was over.

When we got back the table was stripped clean, and the check sitting there in a little white dish.  We considered asking for fortune cookies - but decided we best head home.  A half hour later - we were all hungry again.

When we got home, we wrote Shep a letter telling - in graphic detail - what our experience had been at his sponsor's place.

That Wednesday, he did the Great Shanghai spot as usual, followed by a pregnant pause, after which he said:

"I got a letter from some guys who ate there.  I'd like to read it, but I really shouldn't".

But that was enough for us.  In our small way we had brought a bit of humor into his life - and he had acknowledged us.

Save me a seat at that Great Shanghai in the Sky, Shep.

David Van Buren

Jim-- A thousand thanks for your site.  My young mind was definitely shaped by Jean Shepherd. I listened to him in the 60s and 70s  growing up in Fairfield CT and went to sleep smiling, thanks to him. I seem to remember him grousing on air if the Rambling with Gambling went one second too long (Oh how I loved his grumbling...). Either Barry Gray or Long John Silver came on afterward and I dreaded it as Sheps' narrative evenutally wound to its gorgeous conclusion. As a youngster in junior high school and high school my discriminating tendencies were in place: if you listened to Shep, you had to be OK.

Saw him perform at the Limelight in the 70s & it was a highlight of the decade for me. 

WOR and PBS oughta have a marathon memorial for him.

Eve D.

I just learned of Shep's passing and I wish to express my deepest
sympathy and regrets.

I was one of those teenagers throughout the 1960's who had their ear
glued to the radio (had to be; if my parents knew I was up they would
have killed me) listening to him.  I never missed a night for years on
end.  I can't remember how many times I had to stiffle my peals of
laughter with a pillow.  My absolute favorite story was Ludlow Kissel
and the Dago bomb and who can forget his "ode to winter" reading Robert
Service poems on the first day of winter.

He spoke to us like someone who was old enough to know the ways of the
world yet was young enough to communicate it to us.  It was like we were
all sitting around this campfire in the middle of the night enthralled
as he explained to us how things worked.  His mind-set and approaches to
the world and it's ways helped me immensely as the world and my fates
lurched on into the disasters of the late 60's and early 70's.  He
helped give me the tools that helped me survive and flourish when and
where many didn't.

I will miss him, not that I persued stories of his life after those
days, but it was good to know he was still around.  Since I heard of his
passing, I have been thinking up scenarios of his last thoughts as he
reflected on his life.  If I know him they were enlightening and
problably would have made me chuckle inside.

In the late 1950's, Sunday evenings had two rituals, invariably practiced by the teenagers in my northeast Philadelphia neighborhood.  One ritual was "hanging around" on the street corner by the local soda shop; the other was going home in time to catch Jean Shepherd's radio show on WOR from New York.  The following morning, we would relive the show on our way to school, joking about how the English class would react when we used those nifty words, like "dacoit" and "moiled."  Shepherd's show was, in effect, a demonstrative classroom in the creative use of the written and spoken word.
Gerard J. St. John
Drexel Hill, PA

Sat up one summer night in late 50's listening to Shep go on and on
about "Shhh, shhh, what was that?", about how we here sounds in the
night and how they play on our fears.

I grew up with this guy. He was one of the greatest story tellers of my
age! Am glad he lived!

Like many others who have written into this web site, I grew
up in New York City and was an ardent Shepherd fan botj on
the radio and live at the Limelight. A key moment n my life
came in 1979 when as program chairman Shepherd accepted my
invitation to speak at the Miami Tropical Hamboree, which
was then held in a Miami grayhound dog track. I had the
pleasure of intorducing him to the audience and telling him
how much I appreciated his WOR program. He brought the house
down with his story of going on the ham bands with a 10 kw
military transmitter, and I spent the rest of the afternoon
with him and Leigh looking at the hamfest exhibits. I have
some great photos of us to remember him by.

If there is a heaven , I hope we can all get there and
listen to more of his stories of the Hereafter. I bet he'll
have some doozies.

Keep your knees loose Jean.

Joel Kandel, KI4T

I first discovered Jean Shepherd when I was in college in the early '70's.
I was tuning around the radio dial in my dorm room and I heard this guy
telling about a story about caddying for two nutty guys playing golf in a
thunderstorm (one of the golfers gets struck by lightening in mid-stroke
with, of course, an iron).  I was tempted to just keep rotating the tuning
knob, but something about the story teller held my attention.  For one
thing, he sounded just like my dad as he had this heavy Chicago accent
(Daniel Pinkwater has the same kind of accent).  For another, he was just a
fantastic story teller, and I found that I couldn't stop listening to him.
>From that moment on, I became hooked, and I would stay up late in the night
recording his stories on my reel-to-reel tape recorder, much to the
detriment of my performance in school.  I still have the tapes, and I have
transcribed them to cassette so I can play them in my car.

I could share my favorite stories, but these notes should be brief.  In the
'60's, he released an album on Elektra called The Passing Parade.  I have
only heard it on the Midnight Special radio show broadcast by WFMT in
Chicago occasionally.  I believe in the closing moments of the album, a
parade of famous Americans passes by him and he tries to get their attention
by calling out to them, yelling things like "Hey Abe!  Love that stovepipe
hat!"  And now I can only think of Jean as another member of that parade,
with me trying to get his attention from the crowd.

With deep regrets,

Doug Tursman

I am in shock. I was out sick yesterday and came in today to find that
a great man has left us. However, he has only left us in body. His
words, his wit, his humor, will all live on.  He is with Leigh now.
His lonely days are now filled with joy. To everyone who is listening,
don't mourn too long; don't grieve too long; think of all the fun the
crowd in heaven is having right now, listening to Shep tell how he got
spectacular hip shots off with old blue!

I listened to Shep as a kid from the mid 60's until we moved out here
to Tulsa OK in 1974. I had to rely on the one tape that I made of
Shep's magic cut off finger trick. I also kept my copy of his Playboy
article Lost At C. Until a few months ago, I came across Max's page
and now I can get tapes. I will have those memories to look back on!

He's probably looking down on us right now, plotting to become the
ruler of the Dutchy of Amsterdam!

Bob Angarola
Tulsa OK

My Tribute:

I've been a fan since 1960. I was fortunate to meet Shep on at least four
occasions. On two of those, I had the opportunity to "hang out" with him
for a little bit. Yes, I did get his autograph (one on a Limelight cover
charge card and one in "In God We Trust" when it first came out), but I
wanted to talk to him. He was completely accessible and open. I've met
other celebrities but none were as completely unaffected. One of my
greatest possessions is a picture taken with Shep at an antique car show in
1966. I was 16 and his pose appears very "fatherly." It was raining and I
wound up under the same tent where he was announcing winners. He jokingly
lamented never having one a cup himself, so I emptied a beer cup I found
and presented it to him. Of my encounters, I was able to spend the most
time talking to him then.

Garry Wetstein

Just heard about Sheps passing today and searched for a site and found
yours. Great to share the memories others have of Jean and now I can include
them with my own. Thanks all.

     I've seen Shep in concert five times and each time a two and a half hour
show lasted about fifteen minutes. He took you into his world, traveled the
side roads , led you astray but always took you back where you started. Shep
wrote as he talked . A rare achievement . We can all look back back and
remember what was.

     The only autograph I've gotten in my life was from Jean Shepherd. I
think my collection is complete.

     Shep  will  remain alive and well in this household. I have the books,
tapes ( taped off an old reel to reel ) and movies. What would the holidays
be without A Christmas Story.

     Bye Shep and thanks for the trip.

"Poor Old Bob"

I first discovered Jean Shepherd at the age of ten -- fiddling around
with a bedside radio late at night -- the local stations had all signed
off for the evening, and I wanted to find something to help me fall
asleep. I passed thru call in shows, fast-talking DJs, hockey games --
even indecipherable messages in French. And then I hit 710, and stopped
short. There was just something about that voice that made you want to
listen, want to hear what the next thing was that he was going to say. I
had no idea who this person was, but I wanted to hear more.

I listened to Shep on and off, whenever I could, until he disappeared
from WOR -- and when that happened, I found myself wishing I had had the
presence of mind to record some of those priceless broadcasts. Years
later, by which time I had become seriously involved in the Old Time
Radio hobby, I found a few brittle reels of splicy , brittle acetate
tape in an uncle's garage. He too had been a Shep fan, and had recorded
bits and pieces off WOR-FM thruout the early sixties. I grabbed the
reels, wiped off the goo growing on the boxes, and raced them home.
There were many fragments, many cut-up segments only a few minutes long,
and at first they didn't make sense. But I was determined -- I examined
every foot of that tape, undid every splice that didn't seem to fit, and
made careful notes on every segment. And after two days of work, I had
put them back together, reconstructing one complete Shepherd broadcast
-- the "Lithuanian Compost Heap" incident from 5/31/63 (broadcast less
than a week after my birth!) I transferred the recording to a new
master, and listened over and over again. All the sense of wonder came
back to me, and I realized once again what a treasure this man was.

Eventually, I got on the net, and was able to trade for other Shep
broadcasts -- thanx Max, for making them available, and thanx to all you
other home tapers out there who made sure they were preserved.  Thanks
to your efforts, future generations will be able to hear for themselves
just how special a man talking into a microphone can be.

Elizabeth McLeod
(wondering if it's too late to try those chicken wings at "Ying and

I was listening to Shep on Saturday night/Sunday morning talking about his trip
to Lost Angeles (March 1973), and how  what happens there has a horrible way
of finding its way everywhere.  I don't get the Sunday paper because it's more of
a commitment than marriage.  So, Monday morning I was having  my usual
breakfast at the Brown Stone House, and reading USA-Today, when I saw the
story about Jean Shepherd's death.  It was sad and shocking  news.  When did
Shep grow old?

Here's the thing.  People who never do anything with their lives die.  Shep
gave us The Phantom of the Open Hearth; Ollie Hopnoodle's Haven of Bliss;
The Great American Fourth of July: and other Dsiasters; Shepherd's Pie, Jean
Shepherd's America, A Fist Ful of Fig Newton's and endless hours of radio.

I prefer listening to Shep rather than read him.  But each winter I have to read

So, Shep has gone.  Well, we are lucky to have been around when he was here. 
And though I did write Shep over the last few  years,  I didn't get it all said. 
Did I ever tell you about the time I was drafted by the Army and I was led into
an examination room filled with naked men in a country that claims all men are
created equal?   And then they handed me this small bottle and ..............

Well, Shep, thanks for the great stories, the superb jokes, and the great music,
especially "Ain't Gonna Give You None of My Jelly Roll" on Jew's harp, no less.
And those lifelike flying birds!!!!!

Insomniacs of the world are grateful.

Your pal, 

Franz Douskey

When I heard that Jean Shepherd died, it felt like somebody punched me
in the stomach. I'd recently flirted with the idea of writing him, as
I'd heard he lived just down the road in Sanibel Island. But I hesitated
I hated the idea that what I wanted to say to him might sound corny. I
didn't want to intrude.

What I wanted to tell him was how much he inspired my life's work.
Little did I realize when I was listening to WOR all those evenings and
hanging on his every word, grinning every time he sang Sheik of Araby
and played that kazoo, or got that blasted echo chamber wired up and
laughed into it like a maniac, or just started weaving those evocative
tales of Flick and Schwartz and being a kid during the depression...that
this would evoke some shred of something in me that would sharpen my
powers of observation about the world. In my adolescent naivete, I took
for granted the way he saw things, but now I know how rare it is to
"see" that way. Shep could ferret out the humor, the irony, the bullshit
in everyday life like nobody else. He helped me to see the world
differently--he helped me understand how to take what I observed and
translate that into a story. It's a gift he gave me that enhances my
life every single day.

Today, I'm a successful freelance writer, and a specialist in vintage
popular culture. I'm about to publish my first book. I know that I
wouldn't be where I am if it weren't for Shep.


Nancy Eaton
Nokomis, Florida

I'm not exactly sure when Jean Shepherd entered my consciousness.  Might
have been late 60's, as an early teen,  reading (well yes I did look at
the pictures first) my older brothers Playboys stashed beneath his bed,
might have been any number of places.  What I do know is that growing up
in the 50's & 60's in Harvey, Illinois, some dozen miles to the west of
Hammond, Indiana, even though 20 plus years removed from Shep's world,
much was still the same.

My father worked in the steel mills and had his corner tavern that he
would linger too long at.  I had the same dilemmas at the corner stores
that sold penny candies and tops that you wound a string around. I
learned the difference between "fishing" and "going fishing" and the
list goes on.

Later when I discovered his books I ordered multiple copies and gave
them to anyone I thought would laugh at the memories (including  my
older brother - a fair trade for the Playboys of my youth) of growing up
- not necessarily in the midwest, but anywhere of a place and time that
had seemed to slip away.

It's a family tradition at our house to watch "Christmas Story" on the
24th - my 11 year old points and repeats with Shep when he says, "The
line starts back there kid!"  And though I may be 45 years old, in the
corner of our bedroom, not far from the night stand, at the ready, is my
trusty Red Ryder - ready for dreams and any desperadoes that may come my

Jean Shepherd may have left this world, but what he created will be with
me always.

Terry Mangum

I was introduced to his work by my late father. I never really
understood why he would shout, "Drop the tools, we've got you covered".
As a little kid who grew up in California, and not Pennsylvania, the
reference was lost on me.

In other words, I guess you had to be there.

As I grew, I heard more about Shep from my father. Sometimes I'd be
fortunate enough to be able to hear a rebroadcast of his old shows.

I was eighteen in 1983 when "A Christmas Story" first appeared. Even
Chevy Chase's "Christmas Vacation" is hard pressed to be truly as funny.

I watch "A Christmas Story" every year because it reminds me of certain
episodes in my childhood. I can laugh about them now thanks to Shep.

Thanks, Jean. Thanks for it all.

People like you are the ones who truly leave your mark on the world. The
politicians and the self absorbed celebrities of today do so only
fleetingly, and wish they could leave one such as you.

JT Hall

Add your memories about Shep

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Copyright © 1999, James E. Sadur.
All Rights Reserved.